The International Vegetarian Union (IVU) has chosen Ghana as the first African country to host the 42nd International Vegetarian festival for the first time ever since its inception.
The World Vegefest is an annual event which is rotated among six regions mainly Africa,Asia Pacific,Asia South and west,Europe,Latin America and North America. Last year witnessed the whole world converged at Kuala Lumpur, Malayasia to mark the 41st edition of the World Vegefest event in grandeur, this year Ghana is blessed to be honored as the first African Nation to host it come this October 2014.
The 42nd World Vegefest 2014 event is scheduled to come off in Accra from 1st to 6th October, 2014 was launched yesterday on the 5th of February in Accra at the International press Conference centre on the theme:”Miraculously Preserved: Celebrating life at the Center of the Earth”.
Speaking during the launch of the event, Secretary of Vegetarian Association of Ghana, Mr. Emmanuel Awunyo who is also the Vice Chairman of the World Vegefest 2014 Planning Committee disclosed the selection of Ghana as the next host of the 42nd World Vegefest was based on the fact that the association has worked very hard and has been recognized by the International Vegetarian Union for the good work done over the past nine years towards promoting the adoption of a plant based diet in Ghana.
“This means that later in this year from October 2nd -6th we at the center of the earth shall say Akwaaba to many vegetarians from across the globe as well as awaken thousands at home who did not know that this is the best way to eat to live” he added.
He advised eating a plant based diet as the healthiest option for mankind and the most sustainable for the planet earth while condemning animal food consumption which he claimed is not good for human health.
He equally called for media partnership to help corroborate the efforts of the association towards achieving the set objectives of promoting strong and healthy lifestyle of citizens.
The Chairman of the Ghana Tourism Authority,Mr Akunu Dake in his speech noted the theme for the 2014 festival which is dubbed “Miraculously preserved: celebrating life at the centre of the earth” espouses the interconnectedness and harmonious interplay between nature and human existence and therefore the necessity for everyone to ensure that they safeguard lives and the environment.
He observed that human beings die prematurely these days which is of evidence due to the fact that they have become victims of selfish marauding commercial interests and entities, national and multi-national who only desire to make profit by controlling a large part of what Ghanaian consume through feeding them on their ignorance and weaknesses; exploit their vulnerable taste buds thus perpetually seek to enslave mankind in a vicious cycle of dependence and subservience to negative dietary cultures with morbid consequences.
“Somehow we accept it as natural, despite the evidence of rottenness and death that is so pervading” he added.
He advised those in the culture and tourism industry to use the opportunity of the world festival to showcase the varied and rich vegetarian culinary heritage and traditions of people and project the immense creative ways in which natural foods can be put to use and applied.
He also noted the creative economy today has a major focus on gastronomy sector and charged practitioners in the food industry to take up the task of how the creative economy can effectively respond to the challenges of professional capacity development in the gastronomy area particularly in the area of vegetarian cuisine.
In addition to that he tasked the vegetarian and vegan food experts and the relevant public institutions such as the Ghana Tourism Authority to undertake training programmes, produce training materials, mount more exhibitions, organize educational programmes and commit themselves to the production of indigenous vegan and vegetarian cook books for the catering institutions and industry.
Below is the is a provisional summary proposed activities (subject to change) to mark the 6 day celebration: by the Vegetarian Association of Ghana.
Wednesday, October 1
– Arrivals, registration and opening ceremonies. An international themed dinner for guests in the evening as a way to meet people from around the world.
Thursday, October 2
– Awareness Walk from Kwame Nkrumah Circle to the Ministry of Health. The walk is about 5 km in total and the aim is to create awareness as well as engage the Minister of Health by presenting him with a letter on our position on the state of the nation’s health from a vegetarian perspective.
There will be a dinner and film show in the evening as a way to relax after the walk.
Friday, October 3
– A day visit to two orphanages to donate food items and spend time with the children. A few vegetarian menus will be given to the caterer to try and incorporate a few veggie dishes a week into their diet. Organize clean up exercise with them and have lunch with them.
In the evening there will be a dinner at the Efua Sutherland Children’s Park in Accra. We will use this opportunity to introduce to the world authentic Ghanaian dishes that are suitable for vegetarians. Many of these dishes are almost forgotten in many parts of Ghana today!
Saturday, October 4
– This is the main seminar day. The event will take place at the Accra International Conference Center with two main auditoriums used. This will enable attendants to have a choice at any time of two different speakers and topics to listen to. This part of the event will include a food fair and health products exhibition. The local public will get a chance to sample some veggie dishes.
In the evening we shall have a night of musical performances from enlightened musicians who will be engaged on helping the Association to drive the message to the public on the need to live a healthy lifestyle.
Sunday, October 5
– Vegan Youth Day. This day is especially dedicated to the upcoming generation however this does not mean adults will not attend. It is just a way of highlighting the importance of the next generation seeing the importance of adopting a healthier diet early in life. The event will be held at the Conference center and will include a forum where the youth will be addressed by key note speakers who will help direct their decision making regarding their diet towards a healthier option. There will be youth drama, a question and answers session to help equip the youth with the truth. Attendants shall also enjoy a film show while the food fair and products exhibition will continue. A second room will have speakers addressing the concerns of the adults in attendance simultaneously.
Monday, October 6
– Visit to select tourist attractions outside Accra returning same day. We will have several options of such day trips where depending on budget and time available, guests may choose to join anyone of several guided tours to see more of the host country – Ghana!
Some examples are visits to Cape Coast which will include a visit to the Castle and Kakum Forest Canopy Walkway. A visit to the Akwapim hills where guests can visit the Aburi Botanical gardens and Tetteh Quarshie’s original cocoa farm among other attractions.
During October we will be privileged to have several traditional festivals occurring, namely Odwira in the Akwapim region, Ngmayem festival of the Krobos and the Sasaadu festival of the people of Alavanyo in the Volta region. We shall also have a n option to tour Accra to see the Kwame Nkrumah memorial Park, Old town Accra, the Art Center and more!
Guests wishing to see more of Ghana can do so by booking one of several options of packages that will start on Tuesday morning when most depart. We will be able to arrange accommodation for a range of budgets from hostel to five star. The details of all these options including discounted pricing will be made available shortly so guests can select their tours before they arrive.
We are also working on ways in which we can create more value to encourage vegetarians from other African countries to participate.
We trust that this letter shall leave you with a better impression of the eagerness of the Vegetarian Association of Ghana to host this prestigious event and advance the cause of our vegetarian fraternity worldwide.